NEW YORK, N.Y. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- An attack on a UNR alum in New York City is being investigated as a hate crime.
Friends and colleagues of 46-year-old Randy Gener describe him as the ultimate cheerleader of people, always willing to help others achieve their dreams. He has made an impact, even to those who knew him at UNR 20 years ago.
Police sketches blanket the corner where an unknown male attacked Randy Gener, an openly gay and award-winning journalist. The attack left him with severe brain trauma. The NYPD is investigating it as a possible hate crime.
"it's hard for me to fathom why anyone with savagely beat him up that way. "
The 46-year-old UNR alum wrote for The Sagebrush student paper, and frequently visits family and friends in Reno. Professor Emeritus Jack Highton has had many students, but says Gener was special. "Not too many talk with you for years and years, so yes, he was one of my favorite people."
Highton recalls Gener's passion and talent for writing and the arts, and the moment Gener decided to pursue his career. "'So I just came in to tell you, I'm going to New York.' I say, 'What?! Who do you know there, what's your connection?' 'Nothing,' (he replied). So he just went cold turkey."
Gener went on to write for national outlets such as the New York Times and NPR. He's also a leader in the New York Filipino-American community, and started the first Filipino Opera in the Big Apple last year.
Last night, family, friends, and colleagues gathered to pray for his recovery, including his husband, Steve. "Please, Jesus. My friend, my husband, bring him back to us."
Gener is a friend to many, who describe him as the type of person who lights up the room. "For a lot of us, it's hard to even imagine why someone would do that to a person like Randy," said. "For someone to do that to anyone is awful, but to do it to someone who does nothing but exude kindness to people, it's even more devastating."
Gener remains in the hospital recovering from emergency brain surgery. A You Caring fund has been set up to help pay for Gener's medical expenses. If you would like to donate, click here